Libmonster ID: SE-298
Author(s) of the publication: N. WERNER

In the run-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will be held in Beijing, the topic of human rights in China is especially actively discussed by the Western media. These discussions have fueled recent unrest in Tibet, during which at least 140 people are estimated to have died. The official attitude in our country to the observance of democratic freedoms in China differs markedly from the position of Western European countries and the United States. Meanwhile, the history of the opposition movement in China remains poorly understood.

The opposition movement in China has its roots in the 70s of the last century. It developed with particular force after the Beijing public became aware of the reconstruction at a Working meeting of the CPC Central Committee in November 1978 of the events that received the name "April 5 movement" in the historical literature of the PRC (1976), a spontaneous protest of broad sections of Chinese society against the policy of the "cultural revolution" and attempts to revive it in 1976 - 1978 was called the "Beijing Spring" (by analogy with the" Prague Spring " of 1968).

The theme of the "Beijing Spring" was not studied in either Soviet or subsequent Russian historiography, and its study in China is strictly prohibited. Taiwanese historians have been most successful in investigating this problem. We are talking about publishing a collection in 20 volumes, which, although far from complete, contains the "dazibao" period of the "Beijing Spring"1. Through the efforts of Taiwanese scientists, several books on various aspects of the "Beijing Spring" have been published in the "Study of Mainland China"series. In addition, much work has been done in this direction in Hong Kong (long before reunification with the PRC) .2

THE GANG OF FOUR AND DENG XIAOPING

Formed in the early 1970s, an ultra-left factional group within the CCP, referred to in historical literature as the "gang of four" or simply the "four" (a group of CCP leaders - Mao Zedong's widow Jiang Qing and three of her associates: Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan, and Wang Hongwen), hatched far-reaching plans to usurp the highest party and political power. state authorities. However, at the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC), Deng Xiaoping took over the post of acting Premier of the State Council. On January 5, 1975, at the suggestion of Mao Zedong, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the CPC Military Council and simultaneously Chief of the PLA General Staff, and on January 8, at the plenum of the Central Committee of the X convocation, he was elected Deputy Chairman of the CPC Central Committee and introduced to the Standing Committee of the Politburo (PC PB).

Immediately after the death of Zhou Enlai (Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China since 1949) on January 8, 1976, the political struggle for the key post of Premier of the State Council in the system of power sharply escalated in China. What made this fight particularly dramatic was the fact that it took place against the background of the beginning awareness of the depravity of the policy of the "cultural revolution" by various segments of the country's population.

The general Chinese public sympathized with the course pursued by Zhou Enlai: curtailing leftism, partially rehabilitating cadres and returning them to the party and state apparatus, and finally taking measures to revive the national economy. She saw Deng Xiaoping as a worthy heir to this political line. It was on Deng Xiaoping's shoulders that all the everyday and routine work of leading the country during the illness of his predecessor fell. This work soon yielded the first tangible results - a partial stabilization of the situation in the country took place, and measures were taken to revive the national economy.

The Quartet's hatred of Zhou Enlai has now been unleashed on Deng Xiaoping, launching an ideological campaign against him. At a signal from above, the media accused him of deviating from the general line of the "cultural revolution". The line of behavior of the "four", which was striving for power, came into sharp contradiction with the opinion of broad sections of Chinese society regarding the government's course and those who embodied it (Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping).

Referred to in the Chinese press as the "April 5 movement" of 1976* is important for understanding the genesis of the opposition movement in China.

THE FIRST"DAZIBAO "

The public's conflict with the authorities escalated significantly immediately after Zhou Enlai's death, which was reflected in the posting of "dazibao" and the distribution of leaflets that branded the activities of the "four". Analysis of the extant "dazibao", which used to be very popular


* Refers to the scattered actions of individuals and groups in various parts of China following Zhou Enlai's death. These events were named after the May 4 movement of 1919, when Beijing students and young people from other cities opposed the secret treaties concluded by Beijing with Japan in 1918. This action in May-June 1919 was supported by the workers, the urban poor, and representatives of the national bourgeoisie.

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popular support confirms what has been said.

First of all, it is necessary to mention "dazibao", written three years before the events described - on the eve of the NPC session in 1973, it was signed by Li Yizhe (this is a pseudonym made up of the hieroglyphs of the surnames of three of its authors-Li Zhentian, Wang Xizhe, Chen Yiyang), and the fourth author also took part in its writing "Guo Hongzhi. All of them were activists of the Red Guards movement, although they held different ideological and political orientations. "Dazibao Li Yizhe" became widely known, it was read even by residents of remote parts of the country.

Four young people naively believed that Mao Zedong was misled by Lin Biao (a political figure, since the spring of 1969 - the only vice-chairman of the CPC Central Committee and was considered the only "successor" of Mao. In the early 70s, he fell out with almost all members of the Politburo, primarily with Zhou Enlai, who after him became the "new" second person in the party. According to the official version of Beijing, he died in a plane crash while trying to escape to the USSR in September 1971). Mao allegedly did not know about the events and the true state of affairs in the country. After Lin Biao's death, it seemed to them that Mao would immediately deal with the situation in the party and the state and restore proper order.

In other words, the main motive of the authors who came out with the "seditious", from the point of view of the authorities, "dazibao", was to convey to Mao Zedong the whole truth about the chaos that reigned in China, to open his eyes to all the outrages that were happening, which would allow effective measures to be taken. The authors of dazibao have taken the liberty of claiming that the "cultural revolution" did not fulfill its tasks, because it did not create conditions for the people to master the instrument of genuine people's democracy, which, in their opinion, is a form of expression of will in the form of "dazibao", which finds the constant support of Mao3.

The authors of" dazibao "raised questions that give reason to consider" dazibao Li Yizhe " an important milestone in the history of the opposition movement in China.

It must be said that the protests, which initially manifested themselves in putting up "dazibao" that branded the activities of the" four", were largely provoked by the "gang of four" itself by banning the publication of materials about the "grief of a billion people for Premier Zhou"4. Such insulting behavior of the Quartet towards Zhou caused widespread indignation among the people. Individual protests in the form of "dazibao" pasting began to develop into mass demonstrations, which first occurred in Nanjing 5.

WHAT HAPPENED ON APRIL 5?

At the end of March 1976, Beijing also began to move, where young students took part in the vanguard of the protest. Back on March 19, students in Beijing laid the first wreath in memory of Zhou Enlai at the foot of the obelisk to the Fallen Heroes of the Chinese Revolution. This marked the beginning of an endless procession with wreaths in memory of the deceased prime Minister. Then, every day, young people gathered in Tiananmen Square, put up leaflets and" dazibao " cursing the "gang of four", read poems dedicated to Zhou Enlai.

On April 5 (Memorial Day), 1976, more than 2 million people gathered in the central square of the Chinese capital, shouting slogans in support of Zhou and Deng Xiaoping and denouncing the criminal activities of the Quartet.6

Spooked by the scale of protests by residents of the capital, the authorities pulled together army units, public security forces and so-called people's militia to Tiananmen. An order was issued to take "necessary measures to stop riots." By the evening of April 5, the order was executed: the volunteers guarding the wreaths were arrested, the monument to the Fallen heroes of the revolution was tightly blocked. During the night, more than two thousand wreaths were taken out and destroyed by 200 trucks. However, the next day tens of thousands of people gathered again in the square and demanded the return of the wreaths. Police beat up demonstrators, and many were jailed.

Thus, the authorities cracked down on the "April 5 movement", during which its participants used exclusively peaceful means of struggle - marches with wreaths, reading poems at various rallies in memory of Zhou Enlai, distributing "dazibao"7.

On the evening of April 7, the Politburo approved two decisions: to appoint Hua Guofeng as First Deputy Chairman of the CPC Central Committee and Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, and to remove Deng Xiaoping from all his posts. At the same meeting, mass demonstrations were described as "counter-revolutionary". Mass arrests of active participants in events in various cities of the country, as well as organizers of a nationwide opposition protest, have begun.

The entire responsibility for the incident was assigned by the authorities to Deng Xiaoping. But Deng can hardly be suspected of organizing the "April 5 movement" - after his mourning speech on the death of Zhou Enlai on January 11, 1976, he was taken under house arrest8.

The Chinese public continued to protest after the violent crackdown in the capital. From January to April 1977, the authorities arrested participants in rallies and demonstrations that demanded a new look at the nature of the "April 5 movement".

In general, during 1977-1978, the issue of the events of April 5, perhaps, became one of the central issues in the political life of China. Leftists who made their careers during the Cultural Revolution continued to cling to key positions in the party and state. They tried to prevent Deng, who was considered the main opponent of the "cultural revolution", from rising to the heights of power.

Deng and his associates, in particular Hu Yaobang (formerly the head of the Chinese Komsomol, became one of the first victims of the "cultural revolution", spent several years in prison), held a series of major events to debunk the "cultural revolution" and restore the rule of law that was violated in the country long before the "cultural revolution" (it means

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rehabilitation of the so-called rightists). Gaining "points" in this way, the veterans ' faction, sensing the public mood, prepared for a decisive battle with the orthodox supporters of the former Maoist course.

In November 1978, at a working meeting of the Central Committee, the veterans were able to take advantage of the fact that the positions of the leftists were shaken. In their opinion, the "dismantling" of the building of the" cultural revolution " meant, first of all, the solution of some major "cases" inherited from the previous period. Among them, Chen Yun (previously and after - Deputy Prime Minister). Speaking at this meeting on November 12, the Premier of the State Council) called the Tiananmen events an expression of the grief of several million Beijing residents for Zhou Enlai, their disagreement with Deng Xiaoping's criticism. The Central Committee, in his opinion, should have positively assessed this movement, which has spread to many major cities in China.9

Under pressure from the meeting participants, Hua Guofeng spoke out, describing the events of 1976 as a revolutionary mass movement. And on November 14, the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee adopted a decision obliging the Beijing City Party Committee to publish a statement on the rehabilitation of all participants in the opposition protest. In December 1978, the Third Plenum of the CPC Central Committee gave a new assessment of the events of 1976. At the same plenum, many veterans joined the top organs of the party, and Hu Yaobang became the general secretary of the CPC.

"WALL OF DEMOCRACY"

The progressive ascent to the heights of power of veterans, who are vitally interested in pushing their main opponents - supporters of the "cultural revolution" - out of the country's political arena, was facilitated by the rise of mass protests. This wave of nationwide protest itself became possible, and to a certain extent was even prepared by veterans. At that time, their faction was in dire need of broad public support for its program of overcoming the deep and severe crisis that hit China as a result of Mao Zedong's anti-people course.

The above-mentioned directive of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee of November 14, 1978 served as a signal for mass demonstrations.

On November 15, 1978, the People's Daily published an informational report on the rehabilitation of all participants in the 1976 events, and on November 17, 1978, it informed the public that the Beijing Department of the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China had fully rehabilitated the participants in the April 1976 movement.

The reaction of Peking University was immediate, and its students began putting up "dazibao" in the walls of the institution, demanding the removal of the first secretary of the Beijing City Committee of the CPC, who took an active part in suppressing the "April 5 movement" of 1976.

"People's Daily" stirred up the capital's youth. The first "dazibao" appeared on November 17, 1978 at the intersection connecting Wangfujing and Xidan Streets. This action marked the beginning of the "Beijing Spring".

Xidan Street has become the main distribution point for dazibao. The wall on Sidan Street became known as the "Wall of Democracy". A continuous stream of young people came here with pre-prepared printed materials. Japanese sinologist Prof. Minoru Takeuchi (Kyoto University) photographed more than 200 " dazibao "in January 1979 during a tourist trip to China*. From their content, it is possible to judge what problems were in the focus of the intense internal political struggle in China.

Dazibao's analysis shows that they raised questions about the most basic rights of victims of the cultural Revolution. At the same time, there were no anti-party and anti-government slogans. The authors of the leaflets only branded Jiang Qing and other members of the "four" clan, called them the personification of the "feudal fascist dictatorship", completely bypassed the name of Mao Zedong, and sometimes even took him under protection. The scattered and spontaneous demonstrations of tens of thousands of people humiliated and insulted by the "cultural revolution" set in motion broad strata of the city's working people, brought them out of a state of passivity and inertia.

The "Enlightenment Society", organized by students and teachers of Guizhou, acted as the initiator of the transfer of the previously launched opposition movement to the rails of political struggle. On the evening of November 24, 1978," enlighteners " who arrived in Beijing from Guizhou posted "dazibao" in Tiananmen Square near the Mao Zedong Mausoleum, calling for a reassessment of the cultural revolution** and a reconsideration of Mao Zedong's words and deeds, describing them as "30% true and 70% wrong." The leaflet, according to eyewitnesses, shocked the metropolitan public 10. There were even some daredevils who posted the previously rewritten "dazibao" in the institutions where they worked. After that, a flood of "dazibao" with pronounced political overtones swept the entire country, and some exposing the criminal activities of the "gang of four" were reprinted in the pages of the People's Daily.11

In all the " dazibao "available to us without exception, the same call is made in different tones and with different emotional overtones - to critically analyze Mao's ideological, theoretical, organizational and practical activities and thereby clear the way for the"socialist renewal of China". The demand remained unchanged to completely and without any reservations debunk the theory and practice of the "cultural revolution", which interrupted the development of China and caused great damage to the cause of socialist construction in China.

The authors of the leaflets paid much attention to the political sphere of public life. This kind of "dazibao" appeared not only on Xidan Street, but also in most areas of the Chinese capital. The example of Beijing was followed by many provincial centers and large cities, residents of


* M. Takeuchi presented the texts of "dazibao" to the Doctor of Philology L. Z. Eidlin during his stay in Japan in May 1979. This set of "dazibao" is now stored in the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences (author's note).

** The term "cultural revolution" has only been used in quotation marks since mid-August 1979 (author's note).

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which built their "walls of democracy". The opposition movement, as it developed, increasingly acquired the character of a national political struggle.

In this sense, the "Wall of Democracy "was a means to bring the country's public out of a state of" general numbness "after the lifting of many prohibitions during the"cultural revolution".

The social movement in China was becoming more and more widespread. Although its main forces were based in Beijing, it caused a huge resonance throughout the country and received wide support from various segments of the population. A powerful protest of young people who had previously been abducted to the village continued to grow. Along with major conflicts, "minor" clashes occurred everywhere and on a daily basis.

In this regard, the story of the girl Fu Yuehua is noteworthy, which for a long time attracted the attention of the public. Fu Yuehua was unfairly dismissed from her job and slandered by the director of the store where she worked. Having lost her job and livelihood, in November 1978, she led several hundred petitioners who carried "dazibao" signs with the words "For Democracy" and "For human Rights"and then marched on Tiananmen. The event stirred up the entire capital. Beijing did not remember a time when someone dared to take to the streets with such slogans. The authorities arrested Fu, as well as some participants of the "hunger march". A wave of public protest began. The "Fu Yuehua case" hastily concocted by the police officials was gradually falling apart. But it attracted the general attention of foreign journalists and human rights organizations, and also had a special meaning because in the movement organized by her, for the first time, the slogans "For Democracy" and especially "For Human Rights" were publicly voiced (the latter was completely excluded from the country's political lexicon from 1949).

PEOPLE'S PUBLICATIONS

Somewhat later, in the first days of December 1978, a group of young activists of the opposition movement took the initiative to publish their periodicals in the form of small-format magazines. During December 1978 and early January 1979, dozens of magazines appeared that carried the same ideas as dazibao to the masses. Outside of Beijing, 127 publications were published in at least 26 cities in China. They were collectively known in China as" People's Magazines "("Minban kangwu"), and they were also referred to as "underground people's publications".

On December 16, 1978, the first issue of the magazine "Siu Luntan" ("Tribune of April 5") was published, which was hung on the "Wall of Democracy". Its publishers were already well-known opposition figures Xu Liwen, Hou Zongzhe, and Zhao Nan. Soon the magazine "Wall of Democracy" appeared, made up of distributed leaflets. A major event in China's domestic political life was also the publication of the Beijing Spring magazine (named by the prominent Chinese sociologist Yang Jiaqi after the Prague Spring of 1968) and two other magazines, Human Rights in China and Human Rights Gazette in China.

The appearance of a large number of "samizdat" magazines greatly disturbed the new leadership of the party, and it gradually moved to suppress the movement of young oppositionists. All the capital's printing houses were taken under strict control.

An analysis of the "people's publications", i.e." samizdat", which set out the ideological and political views of the groups participating in the opposition movement, shows that the movement itself is unlikely, in the strict sense of the word, was an opposition movement, since it was not directed against the then existing regime in general. This was true only in relation to the policy of the "cultural revolution", which brought the country to the brink of national catastrophe.

In dazibao, there was already a tendency to divide the unfolding protest into two trends. The first and most widespread movement became known as the "movement for socialist democracy"12. The magazine "Tribune 5 April" most fully reflected the views of this movement. The other trend is represented by only one magazine "Tanso" ("Search").

The participants of the" movement for socialist democracy", while condemning the policy of the "cultural revolution", at the same time approved of the idea of a "one-party dictatorship", although they strongly emphasized that the "dictatorship of the party" stifles any manifestation of "dissent", instructs everyone to "think the same". Reflecting on the lessons of the "cultural revolution" and the reasons that gave rise to it, they only emphasized that what happened was the result of the "youth" and "inexperience" of socialism, both at the world and national levels.

TRIBUNE APRIL 5 MAGAZINES...

The movement's publications called for rethinking the experience of building socialism from the perspective of the Paris Commune, taking into account the lessons of the Yugoslav path of development, which was considered the highest achievement of Marxism. The articles also criticized the electoral system of socialism and its Chinese counterpart, the cult of Stalin's personality and in this connection the cult of Mao, which was largely made possible by the "loss of mass control over the party leadership of the country"13. The authors of this trend of mass protest are strong supporters of the theory of class struggle. They even accepted its Maoist version from the time of the "cultural Revolution", considering only that it was then"excessively hypertrophied".

In an extensive interview with the Hong Kong magazine Obozrevatel, the editor-in-chief of the Tribune 5 April magazine spoke in detail about the goals of the movement he represents. He stressed that it is mainly aimed at social changes, i.e. at implementing the strategic program of "four modernizations" (modernization of industry, agriculture, defense, science and technology).*. In turn, this task is pre-defined by-


* First proposed in 1954 by Zhou Enlai, and re-proposed by Zhou together with Mao in January 1975 in the course of correcting the consequences of the Great Leap Forward. It is considered the most important testament of Zhou in China. Deng Xiaoping was able to fully implement the program only after the defeat of the Gang of Four in October 1976.

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It considers the development of democracy and strengthening of the rule of law in the country, ensuring the fundamental rights of the people and, in particular, freedom of speech. A serious obstacle to the "harmonious development of Chinese society is the political system of socialism" with its "powerful bureaucratic layer". Hence the acute desire to put an end to the "deformations of socialism" and such an "ugly product of it as the "four", so that "the working people will become the true master of life" 14.

The position formulated by the publisher of "Tribune of April 5" did not differ much from the official position of the Chinese authorities at that time. It is important to note, however, that the discrepancies concerned the place and role of the people in the process of social creation, as well as civil liberties - freedom of speech and the press as a means of expressing the people's will.

The "April 5 Tribune" reflected the most typical views of Chinese society at that time about improving and improving the system of socialism. The magazine "Tanso" ("Poisk"), which presented its own vision of the problems of social structure, represented a more radical direction in the opposition movement.

...AND TANSO

Tanso magazine most consistently reflected the views of that small section of the mass movement that strongly demanded the implementation of democratic principles of public administration, considered democracy an absolute value, and denied the class character of democracy.

The first issue of Poisk, issued as a separate leaflet on December 5, 1978, and posted on the "Wall of Democracy," delivered an unprecedented and uncompromising critique of the theory and practice of socialism in China. First of all, the name of the leaflet - "The Fifth Modernization, democracy and other", designed in the spirit of rejection and denial of the cause of socialism in China, and the clearly formulated slogan - " without democracy, there is no modernization."

Poisk magazine itself was born on February 8, 1979, as a result of the collaboration of Wei Jingsheng, Lu Lin, and Yang Guang (Wei Jingsheng worked as an electrician at the Beijing Zoo, and was formerly a Hong Weibing student. According to some sources, a philosopher-sociologist, most likely Yang Jiaqi, a prominent Chinese sociologist, now a dissident, took part in the work of Tanso. However, this does not detract from the merits of Wei Jingsheng, who took responsibility for publishing a magazine that promotes political system reform. Lu Lin and Yang Guang are young people who responded to Wei Jingsheng's call to join him and shared his views).

According to Tanso ,the country's political system has not changed, and issues of democracy and freedom are not even on the agenda. The authors called on the entire Chinese people "not to believe all kinds of political charlatans" from the ruling party, who pretend to be "bearers of the conscience of the nation" and say that "Marxism-Leninism and the ideas of Mao Zedong are the foundation of the foundations", that "Mao is the great savior of the people", that " without the Communist Party and Mao Zedong, there is no and new China"15. "In China, at the current stage of its development, there is not the slightest hint of democracy, the people are forced to follow the so-called socialist path of development. According to Marx, this means that the people or the proletarian masses become masters of their own destiny. In fact, only the "dictatorship of the proletariat" remains, i.e., "a modification of the Russian dictatorship", which means "Chinese-style socialist tyranny". "We want a modernized person, democracy, and demand freedom and happiness for the people. This is the sole purpose of our modernization. Without the fifth modernization, we will achieve nothing, " wrote the authors of 16.

Tanso expressed its firm belief that the people, who had learned from the bitter experience of the "cultural revolution", understood the purpose of their struggle. In this sense, the" wall of democracy "has become the" front line of the people's struggle against the forces of reaction. " 17 Democracy is a social condition for the rapid development of modernised production. Without this condition, neither the modernization of life nor the modernization of production is possible...

For the first time in the history of Chinese socio-political thought, the Tanso Group adequately developed the ideas of democracy, supplemented by the same adequately interpreted concept of "human rights" ("renquan" as opposed to"minquan" (civil rights)*, as it was interpreted by prominent representatives of Chinese public thought.

For the first time, the concept of "fifth modernization" was introduced, understood as "reform of the political system" and interpreted as "modernization of the modern person", which implies the granting of "human rights"to the individual.

The " fifth modernization "also called into question the" four modernizations " program that was widely advertised in the Chinese party press at that time. According to Tanso ,this program imposed by the top party leaders will not help solve the pressing problems of Chinese society without reforming the political system. Socialism was seen as a kind of totalitarianism, and the dictatorship of the proletariat and the one-party dictatorship were rejected. Finally, Tanso called on its compatriots not to follow the path of the utopia of Marx, Lenin and Mao Zedong, who ascended to heaven in China. Only after overcoming this "evil" will it be possible to breathe freely, and there will be freedom of choice.

Tanso's activities were of great importance in bringing the positions of various sectors of the opposition movement closer together. So, Tanso came up with the idea of a joint statement by a number of organizations and print media. In January 1979, "Tanso", "April 5 Tribune", "Human Rights League", "Beijing Branch of the Enlightenment Society", "People's Tribune" and "Segodnya"published a joint appeal to the authorities demanding that mass public associations and publications be given the right to speak out on all issues on the "Wall of Democracy".

This is a joint statement


* In Chinese, the term "minquan" corresponds to "democracy". The author of "dazibao" using "minquan" is not accurate. "Civil rights" should be referred to as "Gongmin quan".

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it drew the attention of the opposition community in the Chinese capital to the activities of Tanso . Those who were in "soft" opposition to the authorities gradually began to understand the meaning of the concept of "human rights", which they had no idea about before, becoming more and more imbued with the idea of the need to fight for these rights in everyday life.

It seemed that the country was on the eve of a new wave of the opposition movement with the further strengthening and expansion of the positions of radical democratic forces in it. However, such hopes were not to be realized in China.

The deepening opposition movement has greatly alarmed the leaders of the ruling Communist Party. It would seem that at first the veterans ' faction (Deng Xiaoping and his associates) clearly sympathized with the opposition. Moreover, she actively supported it. Veterans used it for their own purposes - to purge the party and state bodies from the dominance of a large layer of functionaries of the "cultural revolution" and, ultimately, for their own political self-assertion.

It was the spontaneous mass protest that began after the rehabilitation of the events of "April 5" that allowed veterans to finally consolidate their positions of power. However, having become the helm of power in the party and the state, they saw in the radical democratic demands of Tanso a call to overthrow the rule of the Communist Party, disguised by slogans of building a "just socialist society"in China. Exploiting the" socialist " faith of the masses, including the moderate opposition, the ruling party, first of all, directed all the efforts of law enforcement agencies to combat all kinds of "dissent".

March 29, 1979 Wei Jingsheng was taken into custody on charges of " propagating and agitating counter-revolutionary views." His associates Lu Lin and Yang Guang issued an "Appeal to the citizens of the whole world and China", in which Wei's arrest was qualified as a suppression of freedom of speech and called on his compatriots and the entire world community to make every effort to free him. After the publication of the" Appeal", Lu Lin and Yang Guang, fearing reprisals, left Beijing-Tanso ceased to exist (a total of 5 issues of this magazine were published).

Amnesty International declared April 1979 "Wei Jingsheng Defense Month," and the CPC Central Committee received thousands of letters from the United States and Western Europe demanding Wei's release. In response, the authorities stepped up efforts to" catch "Tanso supporters. Lu Lin and Yang Guang were arrested. In Beijing and other cities of the country, a powerful wave of "dazibao" swept through, and the public actively spoke out not only against the arrest of Wei and his comrades, but also in defense of other opposition figures who were jailed.

Official Beijing has launched a massive offensive against all leaders and activists of the nationwide protest, and the authorities have taken a course to stifle the opposition. A "hunt" for dissidents has begun across the country. On August 13, 1989, the NPC session removed Article 45 from the Constitution of the People's Republic of China, banning the "Wall of Democracy"and " Dazibao"*. This day marked the end of the "Beijing Spring" - the first wave of opposition protests in China.

The radicals, convinced of the futility of their attempts to change anything for the better in public life, gradually began to leave China in different ways, emigrating to Japan, the United States and Western European countries.

* * *

The "Beijing Spring" gave rise to democratic processes in China, which later developed in the student speeches of 1986 and in the famous events in Tiananmen Square in the summer of 1989. Forms of struggle as they developed during the "Beijing Spring" (putting up "dazibao", their wide discussion at so-called seminars etc.), were widely used in the course of subsequent democratic movements.

The topic of human rights in today's China is actively discussed in many countries. Amnesty International regularly publishes relevant materials in connection with the 2008 Olympics, and the Chinese-language People's Observer website and Tiananmen Mothers monitor human rights violations in China. Foreign Chinese human rights activists - writers, journalists, and lawyers who have joined the Alliance for Countering Repression in China-are actively working on this front18. The list goes on... However, the study of the movement of Chinese dissidents at the present stage is the subject of a separate conversation that goes beyond the scope of this article.


* The right to write "dazibao" was established in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China in 1975, and in 1978 the next Constitution of the People's Republic of China was adopted, in which Article 45 confirmed this right.

1 Dalu dixia huibian (Collection of Underground Periodicals in Mainland China), vol. 1-20. Taipei, 1979.

2 See for example: Minzhu Zhongguo (Zhongguo dalu minjian min yundong bei buzhe wenjian (Democratic China. Articles by arrested figures of the democratic movement in mainland China). Hong Kong, 1986.

3 Ibid., p. 56.

Jiang Zhenchang. 4 Zhongguo dalu qingnian minzhu yundong zhi tantao (Jiang Zhenchang. Research of materials of the youth democratic movement in mainland China in 1978-1979). Taipei, 1987, p. 573.

5 Ibid., p. 572.

Wang Nianyi. 6 1949-1989 nyandi Zhongguo. Da dongluan di niandai (Wang Nianyi. China in 1949-1989 The Years of the Great Troubles). Henan, 1988, p. 53.

Jiang Zhenchang. 7 Edict. soch., p. 582.

Garushyants Yu. M. 8 "The Wall of Democracy" in Beijing / / Vostok i sovremennost', Vol. 1, Issue 12, p. 590.

9 Chen Yun wenxuan (1956-1985) (Chen Yun. Collection of articles...). Peking, 1986, p. 210.

Wang Hongmo denzhu. 10 1949-1989 nyandi Jungo. Gaige kaifang di licheng (Wang Hongmo et al. in the series: China 1949-1989. The Road to Reform and Openness). Henan, 1989, p. 186.

11 People's Daily, 12/20/1978.

12 Dalu dixia huibian (Collection of Underground Periodicals...), vol. 18, p. 88.

13 Ibid., p. 74.

14 Ibid., vol. 8, p. 40.

15 Minzhu Zhongguo.., p. 168.

16 Ibid., p. 170.

17 Ibid., p. 172.

18 The 60th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights was held in Geneva in March 2004. The US delegation presented a resolution condemning China for its systematic gross violations of human rights. More than 50 NGOs from different countries have formed the "Alliance to Oppose Persecution in China", expressing their support for the Commission's adoption of a resolution on China-see: http://atopic.us


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